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Net Oil Imports ‘Could Drop to 7% by 2040’

US crude oil production, which is currently projected to range between 6 and 8 million barrels per day (bbl/d) over the next 30 years, could reach as high as 10 million bbl/d by 2040 under an alternative resource scenario, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Total US liquid fuels production, a category including crude oil, natural gas liquids, refinery gains and biofuels, increases to more than 18 million bbl/d in 2040 in the higher resource scenario compared to 12 million bbl/d in the EIA’s reference case. That higher level of production would reduce net imports to 7 percent or less of total demand compared to 40 percent in 2012, the EIA says.

This higher resource case presents a scenario in which domestic crude production continues to expand after 2020 due to greater technically recoverable tight oil and undiscovered resources in Alaska and offshore the lower 48 states, EIA says. Under this scenario, the maximum penetration rate for gas-to-liquids is increased and oil shale is assumed to begin development.

However, all production projections are invariably affected by a number of uncertainties including the actual level of crude oil resources available, the difficult or ease in extracting them and the evolution of the technologies and associated costs used to recover them, EIA says.

The EIA developed the so-called “High Oil and Gas Resource case” as part of the Annual Energy Outlook 2013 to examine the effects of higher domestic production on energy demand, imports and prices.

The boom in shale gas production is affecting industries differently, but will be especially especially beneficial to those like petrochemicals and fertilizers, where feedstock or energy inputs can account for up to 90 percent of total production costs, according to an analysis released earlier this year by RBC Capital Markets and Economist Intelligence Unit.

The report, drawn from a survey of 357 North American C-suite executives across a variety of industries, examines how the surge in US shale gas production is affecting economies and businesses.

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